Do your emotions sometimes feel unstable? Do you find yourself doing things you thought or promised you wouldn’t do? Does your partner? You may be experiencing what I call the codependent/counterdependent flip. Here’s how to recognize it and how to stabilize it!
Codependent is being needy and dependent upon your others for your self-esteem and/or happiness, insecure, not having a voice, often taking care of everyone elses needs and not really getting your own needs met. “Treat others as you want to be treated” comes with expectation that the other person will give back ‘in kind’. We get frustrated, disappointed and upset when others don’t follow the program and our needs don’t ultimately get met.
Counterdependent is when we put up a wall that appears “I’m taken care of”,” I can meet my own needs”,” I don’t need anybody else”, we are often overconfident, rigid, controlling and generally pretty self-centered. We are often not very empathetic to other
people’s needs and wants.
Now look at these 2 things as oppposite ends of the spectrum. Imagine swinging back & forth between the two. Yikes!! Here’s what it looks like:
If you are needy and insecure, when you get fed up trying to get your needs met through others, you may swing all the way over to the counterdependent side: “Fine! I can take care of myself!”, “I don’t need anybody else!” and push everyone else away from you.
If you don’t need anybody else, you can take care of yourself, and you’re going to do it your way, when your partner gets fed up and pulls away from you, you might swing all the way over to needy, insecure, and clingy while vowing to put everybody else before you (only to return back to looking at everything from your perspective again a short time later).
Neither position is healthy and when we are swinging back and forth between the two extremes, we are actually causing a lot of damage to our relationships and our lives! Our partners have no idea what to expect on any given day! Add that your partner is likely flipping back and forth as well and you’ve got a real mess on your hands! This is a common pattern but it can be stopped.
To stop the flipping back and forth, you must recognize that all of that is part of you – a) the side of you that is counterdependent and thinks he/she doesn’t need anybody and wants to take control, AND b) the side of you that is codependent and needy, insecure, and even childlike sometimes. ALL of that is part of you.
Once we recognize these feelings as extreme, we can learn not to trust them, and stop acting on them while we are at one end of the spectrum or the other. When we understand what is happening, it is easier to just sit with the feelings for awhile instead of reacting. By waiting for our emotions to settle down before acting on them, we develop the ability to let extreme feelings pass and we begin to make more mature, rational decisions. I encourage you to do some self-examination or ask your partner if they see this happening with you!